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As he was one morning driving his daughters Clara and Rosina by a charity-school in the village of —
see page 127
London: William Darton, 68. Holborn Hul, 7.Month 12. 1824.
“ Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot,
The generous purpose in the glowing breast," repeated Mr. C, as he was one morning driving his daughters Clara and Rosina by a charity-school in the village of - which had been raised by some of the more benevolent inhabitants and was supported by voluntary contributions. “? In what a variety of modes is the diffusion of knowledge effected !” continued he." It is no longer confined to the circle of cultivated society, but even the poorest child of the meanest labourer is instructed in that knowledge which is calculated to make him useful in his station, and to ensure his happiness by procuring for him the respect of his fellow-creatures."
“ I suppose the lines you have quoted
come under the head didactic poetry," said Clara, “ at least I have always had an idea that they do, because when I was a very little girl I recollect seeing them placed under a picture, representing a school of little girls, in Mavor's Spelling Book. How often have I looked at that picture and fancied that the old. fashioned lady who was giving her instructions bore some trifling resemblance to our governess, and that the little busylooking girls, who were seated around her, with their books in their hands, were Fanny, Helen, and myself! It used to make the same impression upon all of us; and many a time did we read the lines beneath it, wondering how it could be a “ delightful task” to instruct little, noisy, talkative children; that it was such was all we understood. It is the peculiar intention of didactic poetry to convey instruction, is it not, papa ?"
"Oh impossible !” exclaimed Rosina, without allowing her father time to answer Clara's question. “Impossible that verse can ever be made the means of conveying such a dry thing as instruction! Whether it can or not, however, I would rather derive my information from plain prose than from poetry ;-poetry you know is generally of an amusing nature, fitted to delight, not to instruct us--to give us pleasure, not grave advice."
“I do not coincide in your opinion, Rosina," said her sister ; “ on the contrary I consider the acquisition of knowledge as so agreeable, that I am willing to gain it in any way whatsoever, even if no other vehicle could be found than that of poetry. In fact, I think that this must be the pleasantest mode of conveying instruction, provided that that instruction, or grave advice if you please, be enlivened by the introduction